RelayerM31 May 26, 2014 07:53 PM These bird killers are wrong on so many levels. Give me static photovoltaic panels any day. Once these contraptions start breaking (remember if it moves it breaks) the intellectual back benchers will be reconsidering the "wisdom" of wind power. Jabboson May 26, 2014 09:54 PM Yeah that horrible clean energy must be banned! Daishi May 26, 2014 11:30 PM @RelayerM31 I googled your claim and found this: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htmFrom that statistic wind turbines kill 1 bird for every 1,800 killed by cars and 1 bird for every 6,080 killed by power lines. If you look at the cost to produce electricity on a large scale onshore wind is one of the cheapest available methods. Depending on whose numbers you go by Solar PV is still about 50% more expensive. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_sourceBased on Swanson's law if the cost of wind power remains fixed (it probably won't) the cost of Solar PV will catch it in about 6 years. Swansons law is "The price of solar photovoltaic modules tends to drop 20% for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume" which is currently about every 3 years. Candy Hasbeen May 27, 2014 12:57 AM Relayer, you realize that commercial wind turbines have been around for decades, right? How many have come crashing down on houses? Every single turbine erected in the US and Europe have to comply with building codes that define how close a turbine can be installed to a dwelling. It is called "setback". And as for your solar panels, do you know how toxic the process is to make those? The wind is much more constant in many more places than the sun. The sun sets every single day. The wind does not. RelayerM31 May 27, 2014 06:25 AM Yes, I realize the turbines have been around for decades. As I drive past the wind farm near Bakersfield at the Tehachapi Pass I see (oh let's say) 1/4 of them inop on any given day. Fixing these Rube Goldberg contraptions is a nightmare. Do YOU want to pull maintenance on one of these babies? They're unsustainable, as are all large scale wind farms, due to maintenance issues. Once states have to start coughing up the money to service these money pits they'll cry uncle and stick with PV panels. Just don't use the PV panels that follow the sun. They're also a stupid waste of money. Use the ones that don't move. A good friend of mine is helping to develop the largest PV plant in the world in China. Non moving PV panels in an abandon strip mine is the order of the day over there. Good idea.The problem with these wind power panaceas is that hard working tax payers always foot the bill when it crashes and burns. The high minded libs who came up with the idea have already taken the money and ran. Smart will eventually win the debate but only after Stupid has run up an enormous bill. Mel Tisdale May 27, 2014 07:50 AM Better still as far as electrical energy concerned is the development of small modular nuclear reactors employing LFTR technology, or similar. All it is going to take is the realisation on the part of the public that all the easy oil has be extracted, leaving only the difficult (for 'difficult' read 'expensive') stuff. What about fracking? What about Monterey? is the appropriate response.Of course, we have to realise that electricity is not a straight replacement for oil when it comes to energy requirements. Elsewhere in this issue of Gizmag is an article about structural super-capacitors. I imagine the time will soon come when we will seriously consider a Manhattan type project to develop that technology and the LFTR installations to charge them up when installed in trucks and tractors. It is difficult to envisage how we are going to meet the food requirements of 9/10 billion people unless we do something along those lines. The biggest obstacle is the lack of scientific competence in the political community. (Look at the lack of action on climate change, if you can bear it, to see just how daft many of them are. I sometimes wonder if the captain of the Titanic refused to steer around the iceberg because it was not anthropogenic in origin. If so, no prizes for guessing his political allegiance.) Slowburn May 27, 2014 08:13 AM That is going to seriously unbalance the wind load on the bearings unless they make the towers taller too. Grunt May 27, 2014 10:55 AM I find myself in agreement with RelayerM31. The current iteration of wind turbines are relatively primitive and mechanically inefficient. I feel we are being rushed up a blind alley by well-meaning, but somewhat naive environmentalists. Of greater benefit, I suspect, will be the more subtle employment of ducted wind flow to generate power utilising venturi effects, such as was reported here on Gizmag a couple of weeks ago.Solar will always have its place, particularly as the efficiency of cells increases and new, more environmentally acceptable manufacturing methods are evolved, but, as with wind turbines, will always be ruled by availability of suitable weather conditions.To my way of thinking, we are dismally failing to do enough with tidal energy. There is a power source which is relentless and constantly available, regardless of weather..... assuming, of course, that our moon remains in orbit. It is said that a suitable barrage across the Severn Estuary in UK, for example, could virtually meet that nation's current power needs. And there are plenty of other places around those islands where tidal power could be harvested. Still, all this may be rendered obsolete in the very near future with multiple fusion power units and, for local area deployment, or even individual factories and houses, Quantum Energy Generators such as are said to be going into production in Japan sometime soon.Hopefully, they will arrive on the scene before our idiotic politicians start authorising "fracking" all over the place. We have got to get away from fossil fuels, come what may, otherwise we - that is my generation - have failed our children and future generations. Okay, I'll shut up now. Bob Komarek May 27, 2014 12:52 PM It's still highly inefficient and costly to operate. Since wind turbines and other renewable sources produce much less energy than fossil fuels, the U.S. is paying more for less. Coal-powered electricity is subsidized at about 5% of one cent for every kilowatt-hour produced, while wind power gets about a nickel per kwh. For solar power, it costs the taxpayer 77 cents per kwh. Daishi May 27, 2014 04:03 PM @everyone above. I provided a source for my claim ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source ) that wind power was fairly inexpensive and obviously there are different costs for different regions of the wold but could you guys who are disagreeing kindly reference a source? Wikipedia sources the Energy Information Administration from the Department of Energy. "Total System Levelized Cost (the rightmost column) gives the dollar cost per megawatt-hour that must be charged over time in order to pay for the total cost."That number also intentionally doesn't include tax credits or incentives it "represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle" What that means is for all the people complaining about the costs of wind power I have provided a fairly authoritative source that you are wrong. The rest of the statistics from openEI, Germany, and France are largely in line with those figures so I'm inclined to believe they are credible.Here is OpenEI's Transparent Cost Database. The tab on the left is the Levelized Cost of Energy": http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB/Under "view data" on the bottom right you can see the current and historic publications used for their data so its pretty transparent. Based on ~2012 numbers they have on shore wind at $0.07 per kWh and Solar PV at $0.32 per kWh. They also collect publications of future projections so you can plot those in another tab. Based on those wind is expected to be $0.07 per kWh in 2020 and solar is expected to be $0.14/kWh in 2020 which puts PV in much better light but would still cost power companies more to produce energy than I currently pay to receive it.